Journey to Health: Continuing to Live From my Heart

My experience at Yasodhara Ashram in August was life changing. I came home with peace toward myself, my surroundings, and my decisions. I learned that in order to move forward with my life’s journey, I had to accept myself, forgive myself, and find happiness from within.

To keep negativity, worries, and doubts at a minimum, I’ve come up with a couple of ways I can remind myself of the beauty that’s within me. One of my favorites so far has been my new approach to journaling.

The approach is simple. Be open to learning about myself through all of my day-to-day experiences.

I’ve been amazed to learn that a slight tweak in awareness translates to major positivity and love! I’ve been successful in finding one beautiful thing on a daily basis, writing about it, and truly understanding how it makes me feel.

I’ve written about a man in Home Depot that was building a gift for his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary, my yoga teacher who advised me to find length instead of pushing or stretching into a pose, and about Lexy; our loyal dog, coming to my aid when I’d tripped down the stairs.

I would have never been open to accepting these experiences and translating them into a message that could be applied to my own spiritual growth. But here I am a couple of month’s later, reading into the signs, staying aware, understanding myself, and becoming happier as a result.

So, this is when something exciting happened. I was feeling all zen like one day, playing with the idea of returning to Yasodhara in the New Year, when this crazy idea came to me.

Leanne, you should go to India!

That’s totally the way it came out. Straight to the point, no beating around the bush, clear as day.


I immediately felt compelled to go for it. Now, I’m not a spur-of-the-moment gal. I usually sit with a decision for a couple of days before I jump head first into the unknown. Especially if it involves me going too far from home.

But this, this was something different. The moment it came to me, I just felt it was right. I felt safe, and warm, and welcome. It wasn’t because I thought the trip would be fun, or that it would result in a nice vacation, but rather that I trusted what my heart was telling me, and knew it was what I needed to do.

Next thing I knew I was planning a 3 week trip to India. Yes, India. You know that place that’s like 7,574 miles from my front door?

Ya, that’s the one.

After doing some research on Ashrams; and deciding that I wanted to stay in line with the teachings from Yasodhara, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Trivandrum; a couple hours flight from Mumbai, felt like the perfect place.

… and it’s in the tropical part of India, which can’t hurt, right?

A month following my decision, my VISA application was approved, travel clinic visits were booked, flights were arranged, a 2 nights stay in a swanky Mumbai hotel was booked,  a little bed at the ashram was confirmed for 3 weeks, and I had one heart filled with fear and excitement.

3 weeks in India. Someone pinch me. Am I really doing this?

I leave mid-February, so I’ll be sharing more travel plans in the months ahead.

Top priority right now: figure out what food I’m going to bring with me. Haha ya… I said it.

When’s the last time you followed your heart and made a big leap, despite the fears that come along with it?

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  1. India is really amazing, really overwhelming too. People in India are really great hosts, they want you to love their country so much. Mumbai is a great city to start in, very Western in many aspects. My best advice for female Western travelers is to dress conservatively, long pants or skirts. Also be aware of your neckline height, it’s not really acceptable to show the area between say 2 inches below your clavicle and down. Having said that, you won’t get in trouble, you might just get some unwanted male attention. I know it sounds old-fashioned or sexist, but I always feel much more comfortable in India when I know I am dressed conservatively, even more conservatively than many young women today in India. Anyway, I hope that helps! I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I hope you don’t mind :)

    • Thanks for your advice, Amber! I’ll take everything I can get :)

  2. Congratulations. Live large. Take a big ol’ bite out of life. Signed, reading you in Minneapolis.

  3. That sounds AMAZING! I’m so jealous! :)

    I’m having my own struggles and trying to find what my place is in this world and trying to find my true voice. I keep coming back to yoga and how making that a career would be cool, but I don’t know if I’d be a good teacher. Things to think about, I guess.

    Great post!

    • I’ve struggled with the same thing when it comes to becoming a yoga teacher. Finally I just went for it, telling myself that if I just let myself go, and just teach from my heart, I’d be a fabulous teacher. It’s sort of like removing yourself from your thoughts and then your talent can shine through you. I’d continue to sit with this for yourself, sounds like your heart may be trying to tell you something! I didn’t get to go forward with teacher training as I broke my wrist 1 week before it began… but I’ll do it one day!

  4. That is SO exciting! Good for you for doing what you want to do! I look forward to your updates and details about your trip!
    PS – I am so the same way when it comes to planning and food :)

    • Yay! I’m happy I’m not alone :) Last thing I want to worry about when I’m that far away from home is what I’m going to eat for dinner. That would be ridiculous!

  5. Ha! My sister and I decided on a spur of the moment that we will be going to India on Christmas day for 2 weeks. We haven’t travelled together to India in 19 years so we thought it was high time for us to do the trip back to the motherland to see my mom who is there for the next 6 months. All I can say about India is that if you come back the same person, you didn’t actually experience India. But somehow I don’t think you’ll have that problem ;) Can’t wait to read all about your Indian adventures.

    • Sona, that’s fantastic that you and Rachna are taking a trip together. I can’t wait until my sister gets a bit older and she sees the value in doing something like that with me! I’m sure you ladies, along with your Mom, will have a fantastic time!

  6. Your journey is one of beauty and inspiration. I say inspiring because it is obvious that it inspires you everyday, which in return inspires those that are fortunate to know you personally or read about your life through a blog. What a true gift to go to India, Leanne. How the Universe works like that always marvels me. It is almost as if your short trip to the Ashram in August was but a mere preview of what is to come in the 3 weeks you will spend in India. I cannot wait to see what happens in your life as a result and know in confidence that the after effects will continue to touch the lives of those who get to read about it (me, especially). Much love to you! xoxo. I think you are so awesome!

    • Aw Cara, you’re great :) You’re so right about the trip I took to the ashram near my home. I think it was in preparation of the larger journey. But had I not gone, I never would have been open to India! The world works in mysterious ways, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to go and share my experiences! It’s going to be grand!

  7. Go for it! I did, well didn’t go to India, but to its neighbor to the west. I followed my heart, sold nearly everything I owned, and I am still here. That was 18years ago. Amazed at everything that I have done and learned. Love my husband and son, and will never have any regrets. If you need some friendly advice as far as food/water goes, would be glad to give you some pointers.

    • Oh wow, Jaan. That’s amazing! I’ve joked around with Kevin saying “I may just call for you to join me in India…” wouldn’t that be a riot! I would love food/water tips. I’ve done tons of research, but it’s always nice getting it from someone instead of reading random tips online.

  8. This is amazing! I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now, (first comment) I have always wanted to go to India was going to go 5 yrs ago, then something came up. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences and I admire your ability to follow your heart, because if we don’t follow our heart what’s the point in living :)

    • Hi Misty :) Thanks for saying hi! You’re totally right, living from our heart definitely makes more sense if we only have a limited time here!